Tuesday, June 4, 2002
Time Running Out for Lawyers Who Missed MCLE Filing Deadline
By a MetNews Staff Writer
Time is running out for more than 3,000 California lawyers who have failed to comply with minimum continuing legal education requirements and may soon lose their licenses to practice, the State Bar reported yesterday.
Of the more than 50,000 attorneys in compliance group 3—those whose last names start with N through Z—3,238 face inactive status if they don’t complete 25 hours of approved continuing education and file a compliance card, bar officials said.
The compliance deadline was Feb. 1.
Of the late-filing lawyers, 2,769 also are in arrears for the previous reporting period that ended in 1999. The requirement was suspended for the previous two years because of a lawsuit challenging MCLE, but lawyers who did not file voluntarily during that period must catch up for the previous years as well as make up for this year’s now-passed deadline.
Lawyers who missed that deadline must pay a late fee of $75.
The State Bar will mail a 60-day warning to late lawyers on June 12, and a final notice Aug. 1. A final order of changing the status would come with a vote of the State Bar Board of Governors at its Aug. 24 meeting in Los Angeles to forward the names of the tardy attorneys to the state Supreme Court. The status change would come Aug. 30.
Attorneys seeking reinstatement at that point would have to pay another $200 and would have to submit proof of all of their required MCLE hours for auditing by the State Bar.
A status of “Not Entitled” to practice due to failure to comply with MCLE requirements is not a full-fledged suspension requiring review by the State Bar discipline system. But lawyers found to be engaged in practice during a time they have “Not Entitled” status would face more serious consequences.
The number of required MCLE hours previously was 36. Reforms passed in the wake of lawsuits and reviews of the program eliminated 11 hours from the total.
Further information is available from the State Bar at firstname.lastname@example.org, or at 415-538-2136.
Copyright 2002, Metropolitan News Company